HomeNewsAustraliaSaved by Stories: Cr Michael Glynatsis takes granddaughter Penelope to Greek Storytime

Saved by Stories: Cr Michael Glynatsis takes granddaughter Penelope to Greek Storytime

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By Mary Sinanidis

Greek Storytime at Richmond Library appeared to be on the brink of closure. It opened again this month, just in time for the Speak Greek in March campaign, thanks to the persistence of parents who started a petition and the advocacy of Councillor Michael Glynatsis after The Greek Herald brought parents’ concerns to his attention. 

On Wednesday, the Councillor demonstrated his commitment to the program – and multiculturalism – by bringing his granddaughter, Penelope, to the library. 

Greek storytime
All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.
greek storytime
greek storytime

Vicky Petalas, the program’s facilitator, expressed her gratitude: “We are delighted to have Cr Glynatsis here with us. We appreciate his efforts to ensure the program began again.”  

At the start of the year, Ms Vicky had received an email notifying her the beloved program would lose its financial backing. 

Parents were disappointed that they would be losing the program, and a petition was begun by Maria Tsakakis. During the coverage of the story, The Greek Herald prompted Yarra City Council’s Greek Australian councillor to intervene, however the Council sent a message to the press that it had intended to support the initiative all along, funding would be forthcoming and a facilitator would be assigned. 

greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime

Despite this assurance, Ms Vicky was not immediately called back and Greek Storytime had yet to resume by the end of February until The Greek Herald emailed the Council, copying in Cr Glynatsis.

Either this proved instrumental to kickstarting storytime or the timing was aligned. Either way, the next afternoon, the facilitator was signed to begin the program in March – just in time for the Speak Greek in March initiative. 

greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime

The resumption of the program on Wednesday was celebrated with songs, storytelling, and crafts, all conducted in Greek, fostering a sense of community.

Mary Drosynou, a retired teacher, said, “As an educator myself, I can vouch for the amazing job Vicky is doing. I am so happy that this program wasn’t lost as it is valuable for our children and community. It is such a great asset to have in our neighbourhood.” 

Her words were echoed by Vasso Zangalis, a staunch advocate for Greek Storytime’s preservation in libraries across Victoria. 

She remarked, “Ms Vicky is a godsend for parents. Her infectious energy and passion not only facilitate language acquisition but also instill a love for Greek culture.” 

greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime
greek storytime

Cr Glynatsis commended the program’s impact. 

“This initiative truly enriches the multicultural fabric of our city,” he enthused, expressing his desire to see similar programs extended to other cultural communities within the city. 

He also noted the program’s incredible outreach in attracting families from distant suburbs such as Mill Park, Glen Iris and Mernda to Richmond.

greek storytime
greek storytime

Following the library event, they shop on Swan Street or catch up at local cafes in the area. As owner of the Aegean Greek Restaurant in Fitzroy, Cr Glynatsis appreciates the importance of such initiatives in driving traffic to local businesses. 

“When are we all going to dine at the Aegean?” one parent asked.

“You’re always welcome,” Cr Glynatsis said.

*All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.

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